A DANGEROUS attacker has been held under the Mental Health Act after two random stabbings.

Hassan Al-Aftab was spotted in Western Road in Brighton on Boxing Day shouting at passersby with an “intense look on his face”.

One of those passing was Conan Walton, 46, who admitted being on drugs and pills and squaring up to challenge Al-Aftab.

Al-Aftab pulled a knife out and stabbed Mr Walton in the chest in a blow that pierced his heart.

It left him “dying” at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, but doctors managed to stabilise him and keep him alive.

Ten minutes later Al-Aftab reached Salisbury Road in Hove where he stabbed Harry Flay, who was walking away after a brief chat between the two.

The Argus:

The scene in Western Road on Boxing Day

Al-Aftab, 29, was arrested in Palmeira Square and found in possession of a bloody knife.

At Hove Crown Court he admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm to Mr Flay and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to Mr Walton.

Judge Paul Tain heard expert psychiatric evidence and said Al-Aftab, now of Enfield, will be detained under a hospital order indefinitely.

Oliver Dunkin, prosecuting, said the incidents left people in Brighton and Hove shocked.

He said Mr Walton had been out shopping with a partner and was already “riled” by a cyclist when Al-Aftab arrived.

Mr Walton said: “He was shouting his mouth off at everyone and had an intense look on his face.

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“I had an argument with him, I don’t remember what he said to me or what I said to him.

“I don’t know why I engaged with him, he must have p***** me off.

“At one stage we squared up. His body language was aggressive.

“I saw him pull a knife out before my partner jumped between us, she was trying to separate us.

“I never thought it would have come to blows, but if it had, I think I would have hit him first.

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“I think I had tunnel vision, I just wanted to attack him and was going to take him down, he had threatened my girlfriend with a knife and pushed her.

“His [Al-Aftab’s] demeanour changed when he realised I was not going to back down.

“He dropped half of his things and ran off, running around with a knife at two in the afternoon.

“I probably should not have given chase, it was just my gut reaction.”

The Argus:

Hove Crown Court

Mr Walton did not remember being stabbed and woke up in hospital after heart surgery.

Later, Mr Flay was approached by Al-Aftab randomly in Church Road, Hove, but refused to tell the knifeman where he lived and walked away.

He then felt a stab in his leg, and, to his horror, saw blood.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Matthew King told the court that Al-Aftab has been receiving treatment for mental health issues.

Sarah Thorne, defending, said her client knows he needs treatment, and hopes to one day see his 13-month-old son.

Judge Paul Tain said the “gravity” of the offence “could not be any higher” and said if there had been a trial Al-Aftab could have faced a life sentence.

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